Responsive themes make going mobile a snap

8 Dec 2012

Back to Drupal!

As a simple look at this site's posting record makes clear, your Drupal Ace A.i.N.O. (Ace in Name Only) has been away from any real Drupal development activities for several months. Blame real-life commitments and all that other stuff that a new module can't banish.

But now I'm chipping away again at Drupal, and spent a fine couple of days reworking a Drupal 6 site into Drupal 7. Reworking, not upgrading; the site was small and consisted of little more than a dozen or so blog posts, so it sounded easier to paste the content into a freshly minted D7 site than to work through upgrade difficulties. (One of which is, embarrassingly, that I'm still rather stumped on how to upgrade a D6 site to D7 and keep images that were added through Image Attach. I'd love to hear from anyone who has actually done it for a site with a hundred or two nodes!)

Going mobile

Responsive theme in action

Unsurprisingly, my Drupal sabbatical means that I also haven't tackled development of a proper mobile site. But while I've yet to explore that brave (for me) new (for me) world, I have made the delightful acquaintance of a really quick solution for clean presentation of simple content on both the desktop and the mobile screen: Responsive themes.

Sure, the Drupal gurus are already familiar with that term, but it's new to less accomplished dabblers like me. "Responsive" refers to themes that are designed to reorganize themselves neatly on screens of vastly different sizes. A typical example might be a theme that shows a main content column plus a sidebar on the right when viewed on the desktop, but places the sidebar blocks neatly below the main content on a mobile screen, keeping all of the content at a nice legible width.

Make no mistake: Dropping a responsive theme onto a site is no replacement for thoroughly re-thinking the site to truly embrace mobile platforms, as spelled out in resources such as Drupal 7 Mobile Web Development. But for the developer of a site that only needs a quick solution for simple, mobile content presentation, a responsive theme offers instant readiness.

Get started

To dip your feet in the water, check out the helpful overview at 6 Free Responsive Themes for Drupal 7. Picking up from there, I got nice results experimenting with free responsive themes from Devsaran. I also look forward to experimenting with Omega, which promises a great base for development of original responsive themes.

Next up

This site itself desperately needs a D7 upgrade and a cleaner, mobile-friendly theme. Time to roll up the flannel sleeves and tackle my obstacles again, starting with those recalcitrant images. Off to the trenches...

Looking to really go mobile? I'm liking this book:

Drupal 7 Mobile Web Development

Drupal 7 Mobile Web Development

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